The Denver Broncos have entered a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, as part of a reported record-setting deal to purchase the NFL franchise.
The Broncos confirmed the acquisition in a statement shared by team president and CEO Joe Ellis on Tuesday (June 7).
“While this purchase and sale agreement is pending approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership, today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history,” Ellis said via DenverBroncos.com.
NFL Network‘s James Palmer reports the winning bid is valued at $4.65 billion, the most expensive price ever paid for a U.S. sports team, more than doubling the $2.275 paid by David Tepper to acquire the Carolina Panthers in 2018.
The Walton-Penner group is led by Walton, his daughter, Carrie, and his son-in-law, Greg Penner, and will also include “one or two” of his grandchildren, Mike Klis of KUSA-TV reports.
“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!” Rob Walton said on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group via DenverBroncos.com. “Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.
Additionally, Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson, a Black businesswoman who also serves as Chair of the Board of the Starbucks Corporation and as a director of JPMorgan Chase, will join the Broncos’ new ownership group, Walton confirmed.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had previously encouraged the Broncos to sell to a diverse ownership group when Hollywood mogul Byron Allen was linked to the team in February and would have become the first Black majority owner in NFL history if he acquired at least 30% of the franchise.
“We are excited to announce that Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, has agreed to join our ownership group,” Walton said. “Beyond her role at Ariel, Mellody is an influential leader in corporate and civic organizations across the nation.”
“Thank you to Joe Ellis and the staff of the Broncos for the first-class manner in which they have conducted this sale process,” Walton added. “In addition, we thank Hogan Lovells for their guidance and support in this effort.
“We look forward to earning the confidence and support of the NFL as we take the next step in this process. When the necessary approval procedures are met, our family is excited to share more with Broncos fans, the organization and the community.”